Defending Yourself After a Second DUI Charge

Being convicted of a DUI for a second time can result in layers of penalties, including jail time, onerous fines, and losing your license for years. Throw in ignition interlock devices and other even less pleasant outcomes, and you can quickly see the need for expert legal help as quickly as you can get it. With experienced counsel, it is possible to get charges dismissed or significantly reduced.

Read moreDefending Yourself After a Second DUI Charge

Consequences of Poor Representation of Your DUI Case

One of the first things someone accused of DUI learns once they are entered into the legal system is that the cases can be overwhelmingly complex. If proper process isn’t followed, the penalties that someone convicted of DUI face can radically effect their lives for years to come. There is a lot of misinformation flying about on the internet about how to handle a DUI charge. If you decide to follow some of this misguided advice or worse, represent yourself at your hearing, you could end up in a vary bad position.

Read moreConsequences of Poor Representation of Your DUI Case

I Refused The DUI Breathalyzer, What Happens Now?

Washington is a beautiful state to live in, especially in the town of Vancouver and Travis County. However, if you aren’t familiar with the local DUI laws, you can wind up in a lot of trouble. Here you will learn what can happen if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test.

The Scenario: Refusing A Breathalyzer Road Test

Imagine driving home after having a few drinks with your friends after work, you’re almost to your road when red and blue lights flash in the background and hear the dreaded wail of the siren.

You do the right thing and pull over. The officer asks if you’ve been drinking and you reply that you haven’t, but he doesn’t believe you. Next, the officer asks you to take a DUI breath test, you refuse. Now what?

Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Washington State

Due to some hardline Washington legislation known as, implied consent, your bout of rebellion could get you in trouble. Implied consent assumes that every licensed driver in the state of Washington has an obligation to take a breathalyzer test when asked by an officer.

The only caveat here is that for implied consent to apply, you must have been lawfully arrested for a DUI. If the officer violated any protocol that could make it an unlawful arrest, you’ll have more opportunity for recourse.

You can face the following consequences when refusing to take a DUI breath test:

  • Criminal Charges
  • License Restrictions and Suspension
  • Your Refusal Will Be Used Against You in Court

Criminal charges and steeper penalties can be imposed if you are convicted of a DUI after refusing to take the test. The arresting officer typically informs the Department of Licensing in regards to your refusal. Your license will subsequently be suspended for a period between 2-4 years depending on the presence of prior DUI convictions.

Your Options When Your Refuse the Breathalyzer in Washington State

If you’ve already refused to take a breathalyzer test, you should consult with a DUI defense attorney at your earliest convenience. Preparing your DUI criminal defense should be a top priority, especially if you have any previous DUI convictions.

In addition to unlawful arrest, another factor that could help lighten the penalties is if the officer did not tell you about the consequences of refusing the breathalyzer test. If that’s the case, then a competent DUI defense attorney can use the officer’s negligence to your advantage in court. Little details like that can make a big difference, which is why you should tell your attorney everything. No detail is too small when preparing a DUI criminal defense.

You should know that the DUI laws in the state of Washington are completely different from those of other states like Massachusetts. For example, in Massachusetts, if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test it will not be counted as an admission of guilt and your refusal can’t be used as evidence in court.

It pays to know the law, but as a citizen, you can’t be expected to know every detail, that’s why it’s imperative that you get yourself some knowledgeable representation. Remember, having a capable DUI defense attorney is key to protecting yourself and ensuring that your rights are respected.

Do you or a loved one need guidance navigating the complex DUI and criminal justice system in Vancouver WA? Give our DUI defense attorney Roger Priest a call today to discuss your unique legal situation, the help you need is just a phone call away.

References

“Is Refusing A Breathalyzer An Admission Of Guilt? | Attorney At Law Magazine.” Attorney at Law Magazine. N.p., 2019. Web. 12 Dec. 2019.

“Washington’S Implied Consent Laws And Refusing A DUI Alcohol Test.” dui.drivinglaws.org. N.p., 2019. Web. 12 Dec. 2019.

 

 

 

 

What happens in a DUI arraignment?

If you are stopped and arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), a series of processes are set in motion. Although these processes may vary by state, the basic sequence is:

  1. Booking
  2. Arraignment
  3. Court Date
  4. Sentencing (if convicted)

What is Arraignment?

At your arraignment you will have your charges read to you and you will be asked if you need representation. As you may have in heard in any of the multitude of TV crime shows, if you can’t afford an attorney, the court may assign one to you. Lastly, you will be asked to how you plead to your charges. Because most people plead guilty at this phase, either because they lack adequate knowledge or the evidence against them appears overwhelming, this is as far as most DUI arraignments go. Sentencing is passed and the person must now deal with the consequences

Advantages of an Experienced DUI Attorney

Besides taking the time to become familiar with the proper way to behave should you be stopped on suspicion of DUI, there are advantages to securing competent council as soon as possible after the stop as possible. Being stopped can be a chaotic event for someone unfamiliar with with the process and it is possible that you might miss an important point that could help you defend yourself in court. Having a legal professional on your side can give you the information you need to dismiss charges once you arrive in court. In addition, experienced council can greatly assist in guiding through your arraignment. Legal proceedings can seem to happen very quickly for the uninitiated and competent council can help reduce the stress on you at that time.

If You Decide to Plead Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty at your arraignment (which is expected), you will have a court date set for your trial. Although you will have the opportunity to represent yourself during the trial, this is usually have bad ideal. Without familiarity with court procedures, it is likely that you will make a mistake that could end up costing you in multiple ways. Your best chance during a trial is to have experienced council at your side. In-depth knowledge of the nuances that state legal systems have can make the difference between having a case dismissed, onerous sentences or, in some cases, acquittal. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact and hire an experienced attorney immediately.

What Should I Tell My Family or Boss About My Arrest?

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What Should I Tell My Family or Boss About My Arrest?

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By: Vancouver criminal defense attorney Roger Priest

After being arrested, one of the concerns that might weigh most heavily on your mind may be what to tell your family or employer.  The answer depends on multiple factors: the circumstances of the arrest, how it might impact your job or family life, or the consequences you’re facing as a result of the arrest.

Telling Your Family About An Arrest

As much as you may dread it, you should probably tell your family about your arrest. They’ll be disappointed and angry, but if they find out through the media or other people, it can make a bad situation much worse.

In delivering the news, it’s probably best to be straightforward. Explain the circumstances of your arrest, the next steps of the criminal justice process, and the best case and worst-case scenarios, if you know them. If you’ve hired a lawyer, let them know. Help them to feel reassured by speaking in a calm voice, expressing regret for what happened, and letting them know you’re trying to minimize any adverse impact on the family.

You probably shouldn’t share too many details about the actions that led to your arrest, especially any potentially self-incriminating information. Your lawyers should tell you which details should remain between you and them. If you don’t know what you shouldn’t talk about, ask your lawyer.

Telling Your Your Employer About An Arrest

 Before you tell your employer about your arrest, it’s a good idea to speak with your lawyer. In some cases, it may not be necessary to share such information right away. An arrest is not the same as a conviction or pleading guilty, and it may come to nothing.

However, there may be certain circumstances where you should inform your employer as soon as possible. If the state, the industry, or company policy requires disclosure of an arrest, then you must report it immediately.[1] In these circumstances, failing to disclose could cost your job–even if the arrest itself would not have, had you been honest.

You should also disclose the arrest if it affects your ability to perform your duties. For example, if you are a truck driver whose license was suspended because of a DUI arrest, you should let your employer know.

When it comes to employment, your best bet is to plan an approach to disclosure with your attorney. A good lawyer can help you protect your rights and job to the extent possible.

[1] https://woman.thenest.com/notify-employer-arrested-19505.html

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Arrested for DUI? Here are the 3 Most Common Defenses

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Arrested for DUI in Vancouver WA? 

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Common DUI Defenses

Being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Washington state is a very serious charge that can have severe repercussions in your life for years down the road.

A court may suspend or revoke your drivers’ license, require you to pay stiff fines, or even sentence you to serve jail time. Your ability to keep and retain work becomes threatened with a criminal record and a revoked license, not to mention the thousands in court-related fees, DMV classes and the social stigma of having an arrest record.

You might be able to fight these charges if you can offer one or more of the following defenses.

The 3 Most Common DUI Defenses in Vancouver 

  1. The police didn’t have probable cause

Police officers must have “probable cause” to stop your vehicle or arrest you for driving under the influence. In other words, they must have good reason to believe that you have broken the law. In your defense, you’d argue that the police had no legitimate reason to stop or detain you in the first place. For example, you might be able to show that you weren’t driving erratically, your vehicle met all state requirements, etc.

You may also have a valid defense if there’s reason to believe that the police stopped you because of your race, religion, gender identification or national origin. Such markers of your identity are not an allowable legal basis for stopping you.

  1. The police didn’t read your Miranda rights

Anyone who’s watched a television crime show has probably heard a police officer warn a suspect: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law…” These words, which also inform a suspect of their right to an attorney, are called a “Miranda warning” or reading your “Miranda rights.”

If the police arrest you on suspicion of a DUI and ask you incriminating questions, then they are required to give the Miranda warning. If they fail to do this, then your lawyer will likely ask the court to suppress any incriminating statements you made. The suppression of certain can sometimes lead to a plea deal or even dismissal of the case.

  1. You were not “under the influence” or intoxicated

 There might be a legitimate reason that explains your seemingly intoxicated behavior or even an elevated alcohol blood level. For example, you might have been driving erratically because you just pulled at 14-hour shift at work or were distracted by something inside the car. Certain foods and diets can also give a false positive for intoxication. Poppy seeds[1] can give a false positive on a urine test, while strict followers of the Keto diet[2] might get a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Call our Vancouver WA DUI attorney now

Attorney Roger Priest is a Vancouver WA DUI attorney with deep experience arguing cases in the Clark County judicial system. If you are looking for a a criminal defense attorney who will will leave no stone un-turned in protecting your rights while in the court system, call Rodger Priest today.

[1] https://www.upi.com/Top_News/2005/10/18/Poppy-seed-defense-works-on-DUI-charge/46921129669715/

[2] https://www.menshealth.com/health/a26063314/ketosis-breathalyzer-alcohol-false-positive-low-carb/

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Can I Get a DUI on My Bicycle in Washington?

Van-Wa-bicicle-dui
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Can I Get a DUI on My Bicycle in Washington?

[/av_textblock] [av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av_uid=’av-9jnv3c’] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-jrwece4q’ admin_preview_bg=”] Van-Wa-bicicle-duiMany states have DUI laws that are broad enough to apply to bicycle riders. Oregon, for instance, makes no legal distinction between a DUI committed while driving a monster truck and while riding your bicycle. This may seem silly, as one is far more dangerous than the other. If you feel this way, then you share something in common with the Washington Supreme Court.

The Washington DUI law specifically prohibits driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A vehicle is defined by Washington law as any device capable of being moved upon a public highway. . . “including bicycles”. So, a quick review of the statutes would make it seem that you can, in fact, get a DUI for riding your bicycle.

This issue came up in the case of The City of Montesano v. Daniel Wells in 1995. Mr. Wells was convicted for riding his bicycle drunk and he appealed the conviction. The Washington Court of Appeals considered the statutes (and related statutes) and ultimately decided that the Washington legislature did not intend to extend the DUI laws to include bicyclists. Specifically, the court addressed the seemingly interchangeable usage of the terms “vehicle” and “motor vehicle” in the various DUI statutes(which there are several). The court decided that even though the term “vehicle” used in the DUI statute, the various related DUI statutes that specifically use the term “motor vehicle” instead suggested that the legislature’s interchangeable usage of both “vehicle” and “motor vehicle” in the statutes was a product of “inattentive drafting” and applying the DUI statute to bicycling would lead to an absurd result.

This is a refreshing decision, considering that many states draw no distinction between motor vehicle DUIs and bicycle DUIs. Since a DUI carries harsh penalties for your driver’s license, including license suspension, ignition interlock device requirements, and SR-22 insurance requirements, it seems only natural that a DUI should only be imposed for driving a motor vehicle.

Going one step further, Washington has even implemented statutory protocols for law enforcement to offer safe rides for intoxicated bicycle riders. These statutory provisions arrange for how to secure and safely arrange for transport, impound and return of bicycles in such cases.

While a bicyclist cannot get a DUI, this doesn’t mean that you cannot get in legal trouble for drunk bicycling. Depending on the circumstances, you could still be charged for a variety of crimes if your bicycling while impaired runs afoul of other state laws. A couple of examples include:

1)Disorderly Conduct. It is a crime to obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic without lawful authority. If you are riding your bicycle in the roadway while either intoxicated or sober, you cannot unreasonably obstruct traffic. Therefore, if you drunkenly swerve into the roadway and cause an unsafe traffic situation, law enforcement might charge you with disorderly conduct. Disorderly Conduct is a simple misdemeanor charge.

2)Reckless Endangerment. It is a gross misdemeanor to recklessly engage in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person. If you ride your bicycle while intoxicated and do so recklessly, you might be in more serious trouble if doing so causes a wreck or otherwise causes a seriously dangerous situation for vehicular traffic on the roadways.

3)Reckless Driving. Like DUI, Reckless Driving ostensibly relates to “vehicles” and not just “motor vehicles”. WhileReckless Driving charges lodged against bicyclists might be susceptible to challenges similar to those in The City of Montesano v. Wells, there is no established case law that prohibits the prosecution from prosecuting a bicycle Reckless Driving case. If prosecuted, it would be incumbent on you to defend against the charge and hope to succeed in defending against the charge based on the case law analysis that worked in the Wells case.

In either regard, it only makes sense to not ride a bicycle while you are too impaired to safely ride. Choosing to ride your bicycle while impaired puts you at some risk of facing a criminal charge if you do so in an unsafe manner. So, always be careful.

 

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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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Will a Washington DUI Suspend My License?

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Will a Washington DUI Suspend My License?

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

[/av_textblock] [av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av_uid=’av-9jnv3c’] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-jrwece4q’ admin_preview_bg=”] A Washington DUI can lead to a license suspension in various ways.  They law is complicated, so it is easy to feel lost when understanding the possible consequences.  However, if you can remember that being charged with a Washington DUI can cause a license suspension in two different ways, it can help to understand how it all works.  The two types of suspensions are administrative and criminal.

Administrative Suspension

If you are even charged with a DUI, this will likely begin an administrative action to suspend your license that can happen automatically if you take no action.  Upon arrest, the police are supposed to give you the following form explaining the administrative suspension and how to challenge it.

You only have seven days to request a hearing to challenge the suspension.  If you do not challenge the suspension, your license will be suspended thirty days after your arrest.  The term of the suspension will be either ninety days if you blow over a 0.08% at the police station or one year if you refuse the test.  If you request and win the hearing, your license will not be suspended administrative.  However, this is just the first hurdle you must navigate to avoid a license suspension, because the criminal case can also trigger a license suspension.

Criminal DUI Suspension

If you are ultimately convicted of a DUI in your criminal case, your license will also be suspended.  A DUI conviction carries a ninety day suspension.  A DUI conviction with a breath test over a 0.15% carries a one year suspension.  And a DUI conviction with a breath test refusal carries a two year license suspension.  If you are suspended both administratively and as a result of the criminal conviction, you will only ever face a suspension with a total length of the longer of the two suspensions.  Therefore, if you are suspended both administratively and criminally for ninety days, you will serve one ninety suspension only.

Furthermore, if you are able to negotiate your DUI down to a Reckless Driving, you will face a thirty day license suspension for that conviction.

In order to have no license suspension whatsoever, you must win both the administrative hearing and avoid a conviction that triggers a license suspension as part of the sentence.

What If I Cannot Afford to Not Be Able to Drive?

While no one wants to face a DUI license suspension, Washington law does have a favorable option for most drivers facing a suspension.  Washington offers an ignition interlock license to all Washington drivers facing a DUI license suspension.  The ignition interlock license permits you to drive with no time or place restrictions, so long as you follow the rules of the license.  The license requires you first install a functioning ignition lock device in your vehicle.  You will only be permitted to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed.  Secondly, you must obtain and maintain SR-22 insurance throughout the term of suspension.

Once you have both of these, you can simply fill out the Ignition Interlock License application and submit it to the Washington Department of Licensing.

There are more nuances and issues that can arise around the license suspension process, so it can pay to work with an experienced DUI attorney to address your particular case and needs.  Call VanWa Legal PLLC today to schedule a free consultation if you’d like to learn more.
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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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How Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD Can Affect a DUI Case

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How Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD Can Affect a DUI Case

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

[/av_textblock] [av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ av-desktop-hide=” av-medium-hide=” av-small-hide=” av-mini-hide=” av_uid=’av-9jnv3c’] [av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” av_uid=’av-jrwece4q’ admin_preview_bg=”] Do you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)?  Then you suffer from a health condition that can make you more susceptible to being falsely accused of a DUI.  Alcohol related DUI cases in Washington are investigated and prosecuted based mostly on breath testing.  If you are arrested for a DUI, you will be required by Washington law to provide a breath test which will be used as evidence against you in court.  If that breath test results in a reading that your blood alcohol concentration is above 0.08%, you are at a substantial risk of being convicted of a DUI.

The 0.08% Legal Limit for DUI

But, how do we know that a reading of 0.08% means guilty?  The law presumes that a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% is “impairment”.  However, a breath test reading of 0.08% does not itself mean your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08%.  The only way to truly know your blood alcohol content is to draw and test your blood directly.  Breath testing is a method of approximating your blood alcohol concentration through indirect means.

Understanding how breath testing works is crucial to understanding why it is susceptible to errors with certain medical conditions like acid reflux and GERD.  When you breath, the blood vessels (capillaries) in your lungs swap air and blood.  This is how oxygen from the air you breath gets into your body so that you don’t suffocate.  This is also how waste gases like carbon dioxide are processed out of your body and expelled as breath.

Then you drink alcohol, it absorbs through your stomach lining and gets into your blood.  As it moves through your body alcohol will move from your lung capillaries into the lungs and be expelled as part of your breath.  This is why you often smell alcohol on someone’s breath when they’ve had a lot to drink.  The breath testing machine tests your breath for the amount of alcohol it contains.  The higher your breath alcohol content, the higher your blood alcohol content.  Or is it?

How Acid Reflux and GERD Can Fool the Breath Testing Machine

Breath testing devices are calibrated by the manufacturers to correlate breath alcohol concentration amounts to an equivalent blood alcohol concentration.  However, they are tested and designed based off of normal healthy persons with normal physiology.

When you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, the contents of your stomach get mixed with the content of your lungs when you breathe out.  The closing at the bottom of your esophagus opens when it is not supposed to, allowing the contents of your stomach to seep back up into your esophagus and mouth.

When you have alcohol sitting in your stomach that is coming back up into your esophagus and mouth it can mix with you lung breath and show a breath alcohol concentration that is much higher than your actual blood alcohol concentration.  Therefore, having one or two drinks can make it seem like you had four or five.

Breath testing devices have special tools called “slope detectors” that are designed to identify alcohol that is in your mouth as opposed to coming from your lungs.  If it senses mouth alcohol, it is supposed to invalidate the sample.  However, research has shown that slope detectors are not particularly good at identifying mouth alcohol and can easily fail to recognize it.  As such, breath testing devices are not all that accurate, especially when facing unique medical conditions, like acid reflux and GERD.

Call In Vancouver WA For Legal Help Today

If you have been charged with a DUI and suffer from acid reflux or GERD, you may be able to beat the charge.  At VanWa Legal PLLC, we offer a free consultation on every DUI case, so call today to learn more.
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If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

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